ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our most loved and cherished Dr. Helen Jean Harveycutter Collier Martinson, who quietly passed away at age 88 on Monday, May 18, 2020 at Stonebridge Senior Living. 
     Helen led a wonderfully full and treasured life. She was born on October 26, 1931 at Garfield Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C. to the late Eunice and Alfred Harveycutter. Helen was an only child and extremely loved by her parents Eunice, who worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Alfred, a hearing aid salesman. Helen always spoke adoringly about her parents and how she grew up in a home adjacent to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (where the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum now resides.) Helen used to recount that on those hot summer evenings her family would sleep out on the National Mall lawn with their faithful German Shepard, Officer. Helen’s home atmosphere was one of fun, performing arts, and crafts. She often reminisced fondly of family bean-bag toss games, visits to the National Zoo with her parents, practicing ballet and singing melodies from Frank Sinatra and Mel Tormé, learning to knit and sew from borders in her home during the Great Depression, and especially those summer visits to Rock Creek Park in her parents and two older cousins, Eunice and Bud Kerr from Cohasset, Massachusetts, riding in her Father’s “jalopy” with a rumble seat.   
     Helen Jean graduated from George Washington University in 1953 and during that time was an active member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Soon afterwards, she met the love her life, Merrill F. Collier, on a blind date. What followed immediately afterwards was a profound, storybook romance with a soft-spoken man from Bethel, Ohio who shared Helen’s love for crooning, dancing and an ebulliently optimistic outlook on life. They often could be found singing “Happy Days Are Here Again” while Merrill strummed the ukulele by her side. Helen and Merrill were married in 1956 at the U.S. Naval Academy’s Dahlgren Chapel and celebrated their reception by walking up the stairs at Bancroft Hall under an arc of swords held high by his classmates in full Naval Academy tradition. Helen was Merrill’s tireless supporter as he became Class President then Brigade Commander. Upon Merrill’s graduation, he was selected to participate in Admiral Rickover’s burgeoning nuclear submarine program, so they moved to Gales Ferry, CT and worked hard to grow their loving family. Soon they gave birth to Sherrill, then Neal, then William Collier. Tragically, William passed away shortly after his birth due to a birth-related heart condition. On April 10, 1963, another unimaginable tragedy struck when Lieutenant Merrill Collier and all hands on the USS Thresher (SSN-593) were lost at sea during routine depth-testing exercises and Helen’s, Sherrill’s and Neal’s lives would be forever changed by this horrible event. Months later, Helen unexpectedly discovered that she was pregnant with another baby and named him Merrill F. Collier II. To further memorialize the memory of her late husband, Helen, with the unending encouragement and support of Worth and Elizabeth Hobbs, formed the Merrill F. Collier Award presented each year to the Naval Academy Brigade Commander who had the greatest impact on the Brigade through exceptional aptitude and conduct, academics, professionalism, and leadership. 
     Many years later, Helen re-married and the family moved to Puerto Rico, Connecticut, then Princeton, NJ. Many years after a difficult divorce, Helen remarried again though after almost twenty years later that marriage ended. No love ever matched that which she had with her husband Merrill. 
     Helen chose to enter the education sphere by teaching kindergarten at Elementary School in West Windsor, NJ. She then moved to Dutch Neck Elementary School to team-teach fourth grade with Marion Pollack, while also earning a Master of Science in Education from Bank Street College in New York City in 1981. As a result, Helen rose to the position of Assistant Principal and according to her colleagues, she became known for her dedication, talent, and affinity for supporting and encouraging those around her. The early eighties brought a population surge to this Princeton suburb, resulting in a major redistricting, a decision to transition Dutch Neck from a smaller K-5th grade to a much larger K-3rd grade, giving Helen, the Assistant Principal Mindy Novis and their teams the opportunity few principals experience in a lifetime: to create a “Camelot” - a new vision for an entirely new school within the walls of an old building, to hire all new staff and to design an entirely new curriculum developmentally appropriate to create the optimal environment for learning and nurturing young children. She held weekend retreats at her second home in North Beach Haven on Long Beach Island. Inspired by childhood memories from her cousin’s second home in York Beach, Maine, Helen provided her family and friends with a home-away-from-home and engendered irreplaceably fond memories for almost twenty years. Along this incredible Dutch Neck journey, Helen developed many close friendships so dearly valued to this day. 
     Helen’s passion to lead, energize colleagues, capacity of vision and eye for detail led to increasing opportunities and accomplishments. Helen won a grant from the Geraldine Dodge Foundation which supported her attendance at the Harvard Graduate School of Education summer institute on the “Art and Craft of Principalship” with some of the most respected authorities on effective school leadership in the world. In 1993, Redbook Magazine selected Dutch Neck as one of the nation’s top elementary schools.  She credited the “entrepreneurial nature’ of her staff for the many success at Dutch Neck for earning the recognition as one of “America’s Best Schools”. Third graders were bankers, shopkeepers, and newswriters for Minitropolis, the school’s mini community with its own currency and economy; second graders ran the postal service while kindergartners managed the school’s environmental protection agency coordinating schoolwide recycling. Helen was convinced that a whole-language, literature-based program was right for her school, but realized standardized tests couldn’t measure what students were learning. She went to work on the problem and won another generous grant from the Geraldine Dodge Foundation to train teachers on alternative assessment. The same year, Helen was honored as a National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals who selected sixty elementary and middle school principals across the U.S. for outstanding contributions to their schools and communities. 
     Helen never stopped pursuing her love of learning and self-development. In her early sixties and while working, earned a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) in 1999 from Columbia University Teacher’s College in New York City with her dissertation on Collaborative Inquiry: Teachers' Voices in a School-University Partnership
     Helen had a passion and a knack for creating opportunities. When asked at one point how opportunities came to her, with a good-natured smile she modestly replied “I don’t know . . . I guess, I was lucky to rub elbows with the right people”. After she retired from Dutch Neck School, she was offered the role to lead the Teachers as Scholars (TAS) at Princeton University, a partnership between Princeton University and surrounding school districts with the objective to provide scholarly and intellectually engaging professional development opportunities for teachers. Helen was uniquely suited for this position as well, and teachers who were selected to attend felt honored, appreciated and loved this growth opportunity. Helen then was asked to lead within Princeton University’s Program in Teacher Preparation, a uniquely designed interdepartmental course of study that prepares Princeton University students, both undergraduate and graduate, to become certified to teach at the elementary and secondary levels and participate in direct collaboration with area classroom teachers through structured, practical field experiences, including full-time practice teaching that Helen arranged given her experience and contacts within the teaching community. Helen retired for a second time and moved to Stonebridge Living where she continued to forge new memorable friendships. 
     Helen is profoundly missed by all those who knew her. She loved and was so proud of her children, her grandchildren, her family, her friends, and life. She rose above adversity countless times, no matter how daunting. She was an amazing leader, mentor and educator. She loved a good movie, showtunes, fun and laughter, tea, potato chips and her House AThe Shore (HATS). She was elegant, gracious and generous. She was overflowing with empathy and kindness. She was real. Helen always will be in our hearts. 
     Helen was preceded in death by her son William, and is survived by her children Sherrill (Michael) of Flemington, NJ; Neal (Carol) of Trappe, PA, Merrill (formerly Kristine) of Santa Rosa, CA, and nine grandchildren Dorothy, John Paul, Thérèse, and Maria Helen; Ben (Nicole), Katherine (Craig), and William; Gregory and Jennifer, and great-grandchild Jane Marie.
     In lieu of flowers, please share your stories here by posting a tribute for all to cherish in loving memory of Helen.  
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     You are invited to attend the virtual Memorial Service: “Remembering Dr. Helen Martinson”
When:  Saturday, July 11, 2020@ 3:00pm US Eastern Time / 12:00 PM US Pacific Time 
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Posted by Peale Iglehart on July 6, 2020
Helen was my mentor throughout my time in Princeton's Teacher Preparation Program. She was kind, patient, encouraging, and supportive, and she loved to laugh. I feel lucky to have had the chance to know Helen. I am sending love and comfort to her family. Thank you, Helen. I will never forget you.
Posted by Merrill Collier on July 3, 2020
In Loving Memory to my Cousin & Good Friend Helen Jean, as well as her wonderful Children - Sherrill, Neal, & Merrill & their families.

I always enjoyed going to visit Helen and her parents Aunt Eunice & Uncle Al in Silver Springs, MD. They were so friendly & made our visit so special! Helen was 6 years older than I was & when she came to visit Nana Kerr in Cohasset it was really special. Uncle Bud & the boys would come to join in the celebrations. Helen was always special. She was smart, cute, had a beautiful smile, was soft spoken & well behaved, graceful, etc. 
Helen Jean invited me to be in her Wedding, which was so nice. My dress was a lovely yellow. The other special memory was when Helen & Merrill walked under the swords. When Merrill died on the Thresher, we just couldn’t believe it. It was heartbreak for our family. My mother was a wonderful support for Helen over the years. We loved having Neal visit us in CT when he was at Choate. It was like having another son.
We got to see her & the family throughout the years & that was always a great treat. When she decided to get a Masters & Doctorate to teach, she had to really juggle life, but she did it with Grace. Her home at the Shore was a wonderful treat for her, her children, & her guests. I know she will be missed by so many, because of the wonderful person she was. I miss her beautiful smile & presence. Eternal Love, Hopey Thomson
Posted by Rick Ellis on June 16, 2020
In one's life it is a rare opportunity to meet someone like Helen. She was an incredible influence in my professional career and as a friend. I knew the minute I interviewed with her that she and I were soulmates and that I would be working at Dutch Neck School with her. She was our version of the golden era of Hollywood---elegant, well spoken, always groomed to the max---she was our Grace Kelly or Dina Merrill (for those of you old enough to know to whom I am referring!). We used to joke about what Helen wore when she ran the vacuum cleaner and tried to imagine such a scene!
Helen was always on the move for learning something new and pushed herself forward in the field of education. She was extremely proud like a mom of her Dutch Neck crew, which she had the unique opportunity of hand selecting! She knew what she wanted in a school and selected people who were on the same page. As much as she continued her own journey in education, she would become equally excited about the endeavors of her staff members. When I applied to be an adjunct at Bank Street College and got accepted, she asked me if she could make that announcement at the faculty meeting. She celebrated herself and her achievements but was equally celebratory about the creativity, passion and achievements of her staff. 
Never one to be the party clown herself, she absolutely wanted to be included in all of our crazy school activities, parties, etc. I prided myself on making her laugh to the point where she would bend, hold her stomach and "snort"! I knew then that I had gotten her to that point!
She will always be a point of inspiration for me and meeting her was no mistake. Meant to be! I have a hundred "Helen stories" that I could share and images of her. I can still see her coming into my extremely active kindergarten classroom with kids doing a variety of activities---painting, woodworking, block building---and looking to see where the teacher was, all the while stepping gingerly with her high heels in and amongst the kids, fascinated about what they were doing and interacting with them! 
I hope her family knows how much she meant to so many. She will be missed but our memories of her will keep her alive in our hearts!
Posted by Mindy Novis on June 15, 2020
To Helen’s Dear Family and Friends,

When Helen was appointed to be principal of the Dutch Neck School, the superintendent and school board chose her because they believed in her leadership skills and vision to create a vibrant new school community within the old walls of an older building. Their support also included providing her with ALL the necessary funding for new materials and for her to be able to hire the best of the best teachers who would help develop her vision of a culture of excellence. I know about this opportunity in quite an intimate way as I was Helen’s choice for assistant principal. We both always felt that creating this school and culture of collegiality gave us an opportunity that few school administrators ever get to experience. So even though it was tons of work with lots of pressure, we loved our jobs.

I learned so much from Helen as her teammate. She was the epitome of a lifelong learner. She was constantly reading journals and books besides attending educational conferences and workshops. She modeled her love of learning in so many interesting ways and she was always at the cutting edge of what was happening in the world of elementary level learning.

Helen taught me about taking care of details in a professional manner. Every project, school activity, and communication to staff and parents were done in the most organized way.  Helen and I spent many evenings and weekends together working on details for so many projects. I remember, for example when it was budget time. Every year, we prepared and prepared to be ready with tons of back-up data and answers to any possible questions from our school board and superintendent. 

Helen constantly modeled graciousness and generosity to me and the faculty. She was always reaching out to our parents and other schools to share what we were learning and how we were teaching in our school.  One of many programs she set up was similar to Bank Street College where she earned a master’s degree; we scheduled guests from other school districts to observe in our classrooms and later to discuss questions and comments. This project was much extra work for the staff but everyone supported Helen’s desire to share. Helen’s graciousness extended to fun times after school when she invited faculty to her home for parties and we also got to enjoy her beach house for school retreats. 

Helen coached and coaxed me to present at conferences with her. I came to see that these experiences were powerful; they stretched us so that we grew in our own knowledge and our skills.  We did presentations in NJ at local associations and we also presented at national conferences -- San Francisco, Seattle and San Antonio were our favorite experiences . At San Francisco, we spoke at the esteemed National Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development. Helen, Lynn Fisher (our guidance counselor and friend) with me gave a several hours long presentation on the topic of “How to Build a Culture of Excellence.” 

It has been twenty years now since Helen retired from the West Windsor - Plainsboro School District which was in 2000.  I am hoping that Helen is now looking down at all the people she knew. Her work touched so many lives.  I hope she is seeing that such a unique number of her Dutch Neck Students are flourishing as adults. Many of them are musicians, doctors, teachers, writers, cooks, technicians, etc., making many wonderful contributions to their communities.  I hope she also sees that the culture she worked to create at Dutch Neck School with me and her staff is alive and well as many of her previous staff members are still close friends and in close contact with each other. When I am with them, they are always reminiscing about the good times they had teaching and learning at Dutch Neck while she was our leader. 







Posted by Jeanette Teter on June 11, 2020
Dear Merrill, Sherrill, Neal and families,
I am not sure we have ever met but I have known you my entire life. My dad and mom, J. Michael and Dolores Miller, were very close to your mom, Helen, and your dad, Merrill Collier. They have both passed, my mom last year and my dad in 2015. Two things I distinctly remember. My dad preached a Memorial Day sermon in Woodridge, IL when I was in high school titled "Courage, Honor and Duty" in which he paid tribute to your father and to the sailors on the Thresher. His message spoke so deeply to all who listened and lifted us to celebrate the character and resiliance of those who serve and their families who support them, knowing that the ultimate sacrifice is always possible but facing that bravely and ever forward. The second is how honored and humbled my dad was to participate in your marriage, Merrill. They were always connected to the class of 1956 and that bond ran very deep as they shared lifes journeys, despite the distance. I especially remember them both talking about Helen and how lovely, courageous and dignified she was, also facing life with joy and resilience. Wishing you all the Lord's embracing peace and praying for you as you lay her to rest. 
With warmest wishes and regards,
Jeanette Miller Teter
Posted by Nancy Richmond on June 10, 2020
Helen certainly made the most of her 88 years! Rising above challenges that might have derailed a lesser person, Helen forged ahead and accomplished whatever she set out to achieve! Condensing my memories and fondness for Helen to a few words is almost impossible. Memories of our shared experiences at the Dodge Principals' Center for the Garden State, National Distinguished Principals, Teachers as Scholars, Teacher Preparation Program at Princeton University, and of course Teachers' College Columbia - harrowing trips across the George Washington Bridge, intense study group meetings at Helen's beach house, conscientiously prepping for comprehensive exams, and eagerly helping each other prepare for our defense....and then wildly celebrating, which we did together through our last visit at Stonebridge. Helen consistently enhanced the essence of "classy" and "elegant". Helen was a dear friend to me and will be missed. She will live on through wonderful memories...thanks for the memories, Helen. I miss you already!
Posted by Lynn Fisher on June 9, 2020
Helen and I worked together at Dutch Neck School as fourth grade teachers. After the new K-3 school was designed I had the privilege of returning to Dutch Neck to work with Helen, now its principal, as the school counselor. Helen was so proud and excited about the opportunity to try new ideas and create a special learning community. She was proud of her staff and loved having opportunities to bring everyone together to share ideas. Her grace, enthusiasm and energy defined her, and I loved the years I spent working with her. Helen, they were wonderful times.
Posted by Lynn Liptak on June 9, 2020
Helen came into my life in 1996 and never left. In May of that year we both began doctoral studies in a cohort at Columbia University Teachers College. We graduated together three years later. Helen was part of what enabled me to be with that graduating cohort.
Everyone noticed that Helen was elegant and regal. More importantly, she connected caringly with those of us who were not. When Helen spoke of her life experiences, it was not to tout her many achievements, but to share a story or vulnerability that helped me feel included and valued. By seeing the best in people, Helen brought out the best in people. That is leadership. That is friendship.
I visited Helen for the last time several weeks before her death. She still generated that warmth and compassion that defined her life. Twenty years after we sat together in those bleachers on the campus of Columbia University as the rain began to fall, twenty-three years after Helen came into my life, I know she will always be a treasured part of it.
Posted by Nancy Mccaffrey on June 9, 2020
Helen and I first met when she came to Dutch Neck School and joined us as a 4th grade level teacher. I will remember her as a smart, caring, encouraging woman who challenged herself and others to aim for better. She had an impact on so many in WW-P, both students and her colleagues.
Helen was a person of warmth and grace yet also such strength.
I’m glad our paths crossed.
Rest easy, my friend.
Posted by John Webb on June 8, 2020
Helen joined the staff of the Program in Teacher Preparation at Princeton University in 2000, the same year as I became the Program’s director, and we both retired in 2010. It is hard to know where to begin in writing a tribute to her, because she was indeed the quintessential educator. When Helen joined the staff of Teacher Prep, she immediately became a valued colleague and an inspiration to us all. It was a decade of great change and challenges to teacher education, and she was an integral and essential part of our unique program that existed for our University students and for the teachers of our area schools. Our program was structured on the well-founded belief that young people who want to teach learn best when they do so in partnership with the people who know it best, the classroom teachers who do it every day and who do it with dedication and love. When Helen joined the staff, more than one-third of the students in the Program were seeking certification to teach at the elementary level, and we needed the kind of person who would embody the fundamental beliefs on which our program was based. That person needed to have a grounding in scholarly research on how elementary-age children learn and the approaches that are most successful with the full range of learners, someone with a rich set of experiences in classroom teaching and in teacher mentoring, someone who could strengthen our partnerships with the schools in concrete ways, someone who believed that teaching is the noblest of professions and who would convey to our prospective teachers the passion for teaching, pride in the pursuit of excellence and expertise, and a commitment to making sure that all young people realistically have the chance to become all that they are capable of being. We were so fortunate, as were the students in Teacher Prep and the students they ended up teaching in the schools where they now work. We found Helen Martinson.
Posted by Worth And Elizabeth Hobbs on June 8, 2020
Worth and I met Helen and Merrill during 1952 and 1956 and celebrated many times together, especially at the USNA which included the Ring Dance and a formal dinner following. Helen and I seemed to be kindred spirits from that time onward.  Worth and Merrill always enjoyed being together. Helen and I had a friendship that flourished into more of a sisterhood as events took place. As Helen continued to have challenges in her life, Worth and I shared in these changes and in her ability to face these ongoing changes. We were always supportive of her and she called frequently to talk about what events in her life had forced her to alter her goals in life. She was such a role model for me as she would accept one challenge after another but never giving up. We spoke to each other more frequently once she moved to Stonebridge and shared in her many friendships made at Stonebridge. Her son, Merrill, our Godson, became like a son to us . We were so thankful that Helen always wanted us to be with their family for Merrill's wedding, for the Christening of her grandchildren , and on many special occasions. As years passed by, we shared many thoughts, many conversations about her future and our future. She joined us a many special occasions when our children celebrated an occasion in their lives. Worth, Helen and I ----her children and our children and then grandchildren became one big happy family. We shall miss talking with her and seeing her at Stonebridge. She was a special sister to us and we shall miss her more than words can ever express. 
Posted by Carol Collier on June 8, 2020
Helen and I shared many life events together. Her warmth towards me began the first time I met her back in 1982 and continued at our last visit together on March 9, 2020. Back in 1982, when I was engaged to Neal, I remember having lunch with her at a downtown Boston restaurant. She had traveled to Boston on a business trip with Ralph. It was just the two of us, mother/daughter lunch and she welcomed me into the family with such kindness. She loved hearing stories of romance and I remember her joy when Ben & Nicole announced their engagement. She was also fond of all of her grandchildren and enjoyed hosting family gatherings at her house on Raymond Road, Sayre Drive, and especially the beach house on LBI. On our last day together, we enjoyed lunch in the café at Stonebridge and a walk outside, enjoying the first blush of spring flowers and a warm breeze, no coat! Springtime! She smiled a lot and was so content.
Posted by Patricia Conover on June 8, 2020
Helen hired me in my first teaching position in West Windsor Plainsboro. She was an elegant, refined and super intelligent woman! She always encouraged me in my teaching, supported my ideas and celebrated the arts with me. Helen fostered a sense of family at Dutch Neck during my time there. I have never felt that at another school since I started teaching. She impacted so many people. I will forever remember our long talks in her office, her impeccable sense of style and her elegance. God Bless, you Helen. You are singing in the angel choir now.
Posted by Larry Fieber on June 8, 2020
Helen was a wonderful person and superb educator. She was warm, caring, and wanted the very best for every child and teacher. She was also a "teacher of teachers" by the guidance and inspiration that she provided to aspiring teachers at Princeton University. I was very honored and proud to know Helen. She contributed vastly to the excellence of the West Windsor-Plainsboro schools.
Posted by Janice Moore on June 7, 2020
Helen you are remembered as an elegant, dignified, warm and heartfelt woman. You had an esteemed career as an educator creating meaningful progams for students and teachers. You modeled courage and resilience rising above adversity and striving to be your best self.
My most favorite memories are our times together sharing laughter, love, dreams and hopes for our shared grandchildren Greg and Jen.

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Peale Iglehart on July 6, 2020
Helen was my mentor throughout my time in Princeton's Teacher Preparation Program. She was kind, patient, encouraging, and supportive, and she loved to laugh. I feel lucky to have had the chance to know Helen. I am sending love and comfort to her family. Thank you, Helen. I will never forget you.
Posted by Merrill Collier on July 3, 2020
In Loving Memory to my Cousin & Good Friend Helen Jean, as well as her wonderful Children - Sherrill, Neal, & Merrill & their families.

I always enjoyed going to visit Helen and her parents Aunt Eunice & Uncle Al in Silver Springs, MD. They were so friendly & made our visit so special! Helen was 6 years older than I was & when she came to visit Nana Kerr in Cohasset it was really special. Uncle Bud & the boys would come to join in the celebrations. Helen was always special. She was smart, cute, had a beautiful smile, was soft spoken & well behaved, graceful, etc. 
Helen Jean invited me to be in her Wedding, which was so nice. My dress was a lovely yellow. The other special memory was when Helen & Merrill walked under the swords. When Merrill died on the Thresher, we just couldn’t believe it. It was heartbreak for our family. My mother was a wonderful support for Helen over the years. We loved having Neal visit us in CT when he was at Choate. It was like having another son.
We got to see her & the family throughout the years & that was always a great treat. When she decided to get a Masters & Doctorate to teach, she had to really juggle life, but she did it with Grace. Her home at the Shore was a wonderful treat for her, her children, & her guests. I know she will be missed by so many, because of the wonderful person she was. I miss her beautiful smile & presence. Eternal Love, Hopey Thomson
Posted by Rick Ellis on June 16, 2020
In one's life it is a rare opportunity to meet someone like Helen. She was an incredible influence in my professional career and as a friend. I knew the minute I interviewed with her that she and I were soulmates and that I would be working at Dutch Neck School with her. She was our version of the golden era of Hollywood---elegant, well spoken, always groomed to the max---she was our Grace Kelly or Dina Merrill (for those of you old enough to know to whom I am referring!). We used to joke about what Helen wore when she ran the vacuum cleaner and tried to imagine such a scene!
Helen was always on the move for learning something new and pushed herself forward in the field of education. She was extremely proud like a mom of her Dutch Neck crew, which she had the unique opportunity of hand selecting! She knew what she wanted in a school and selected people who were on the same page. As much as she continued her own journey in education, she would become equally excited about the endeavors of her staff members. When I applied to be an adjunct at Bank Street College and got accepted, she asked me if she could make that announcement at the faculty meeting. She celebrated herself and her achievements but was equally celebratory about the creativity, passion and achievements of her staff. 
Never one to be the party clown herself, she absolutely wanted to be included in all of our crazy school activities, parties, etc. I prided myself on making her laugh to the point where she would bend, hold her stomach and "snort"! I knew then that I had gotten her to that point!
She will always be a point of inspiration for me and meeting her was no mistake. Meant to be! I have a hundred "Helen stories" that I could share and images of her. I can still see her coming into my extremely active kindergarten classroom with kids doing a variety of activities---painting, woodworking, block building---and looking to see where the teacher was, all the while stepping gingerly with her high heels in and amongst the kids, fascinated about what they were doing and interacting with them! 
I hope her family knows how much she meant to so many. She will be missed but our memories of her will keep her alive in our hearts!
Recent stories

A True Friend and Colleague

Shared by Todd Kent on July 10, 2020
I had the pleasure of working with Helen while she was at the Program in Teacher Preparation at Princeton University. Helen was our elementary specialist and also administered our Teachers as Scholars program which provided day-long seminars led by Princeton faculty to area teachers. Helen was amazing in both roles, but what I remember most about Helen was her dedication to our students.  She was so generous and giving of her time, and the students absolutely loved working with her.Helen held very high standards, but she also had a heart of gold and did whatever she could to help students or colleagues.  She was also one of the classiest people I have met, and I loved her laugh and smile, which were frequent.  Helen touched many lives during her time at Teacher Prep, and we miss her dearly.

Helen a good friend

Shared by Lee Ann Truesdell on June 17, 2020
Helen was a good friend and colleague.  We were members of the same extended family and shared our profession as educators.  I grew to understand Helen's tenacity as she worked her way through the arduous process of completing her dissertation at Teachers College, Columbia University.  We spent hours on the phone talking through all the phases and aspects of data collection and writing.  She was determined to get it right. In our family, Helen was a warm and delightful friend. We shared holidays and family get togethers.  Helen was a welcoming hostess and caring friend. 


Remembering Helen Martinson

Shared by Debbie Schwartz on June 8, 2020
To her dear family - I hope that each of you are comforted by wonderful memories and the love that she had for all of you.  Her humanity, integrity and love of life will always be remembered. Her gentle strength made her a force to be reckoned with and admired!   I had the pleasure of working for Helen as a secretary at Dutch Neck School - what a lady!